Ottawa aims to make counselling, psychotherapy sales tax exempt

The federal government is planning on making counselling and psychotherapy exempt from the GST and HST in its Fall Economic Statement (FES).

This move would put counsellors and psychotherapists in line with several other types of health-care providers including dentists, optometrists and midwives. Health-care services covered by provincial plans are also exempt.

The government says that millions of Canadians use mental health services like this but acknowledges that they can become expensive.

This comes on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures that pushed mental health services to the forefront and increased recognition that mental health care is part of health care.

It’s common for hourly appointments with a counsellor to exceed $100 per hour and the costs increase with the further specialization of service required, such as seeing a psychologist.

This policy proposal is part of a suite of measures aimed at making life more affordable for middle-class Canadians in the FES.

It’s estimated that this exemption would cost $10 million annually. In the FES, this exemption is slated to begin in the 2024-25 fiscal year.

As a tax measure, this change would require legislation and would take effect after it receives royal assent.

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